I have worked in different jobs over the years, from day care to office work to customer service. During those twenty years in the work force I learned that despite being an introvert, I excelled at listening to people and caring for their needs. I also found out it was extremely stressful trying to balance work and family. Guilt overwhelmed me every time I had to call in because my children were sick. I felt I was always letting someone down, either my kids for putting them in day care, or my job if I stayed home to be with them.
In 1995 I became pregnant with my third child and had just become a stay-at-home mom to my two older kids. There was a looming gap of nine years between my youngest and this new baby on the way. I’d had to work when my son and daughter were young, and did the single parenting thing for five years, being their sole support. But things were different now. I was remarried and had a husband who was just as happy to have me home as I was to be there. I was nervous at first, hoping it would be enough for me. Would I get restless? Irritable? Bored?
Today I was folding laundry and I had a flashback to folding teeny tiny shirts and onesies before my babies were born. Though the clothes were larger now, the feeling was the same. My heart was full, and bursting with purpose and love. It was packed to the brim with memories and stories and laughter.
I realized being a stay-at-home wife and mom was my favorite profession. I’ve experienced so much satisfaction just caring for my family, even though it’s only my husband and me most of the time now. As I folded shirts, pants, and underwear, I acknowledged that this job is the job of my heart, the one I do out of love. It fills me with what I long for and love most—my family.
This housewife job has provided me flexibility to go to parent-teacher conferences, to school programs, to help out in classrooms, and to go on business trips with my husband. I learned organization, time management, people and negotiating skills, budgeting, purchasing, and so much more as I raised my family. I’ve been available to run out on a moment’s notice when I received a frantic phone call to bring a forgotten item from home. I could stay home with sick children without the guilt of calling into work saying I wouldn’t be there.
And while my children grew, my parents aged. My father passed on almost ten years ago and I was able to sit by his bedside and enjoy precious time with him. I’m able to take my mother to doctor appointments now that her vision doesn’t allow her to drive as much, and I was home to care for my father-in-law after he had a stroke and came to live with us for a few months last year.
Having worked for almost two decades, I know the difficulties of juggling the responsibilities of a job and a home. For years I longed to be a stay-at home wife and mom but couldn’t. Now I’m honored to have this blessing in my life, while understanding that there are many who don’t, or aren’t cut out of the same fabric I am. Many women prefer working outside the home and they thrive there, being the best they can be when they return home each day. Kudos to them for caring for their own hearts and families in the way that’s best for them. It’s part of the diverse beauty God created within each of us.
But for me, I love being home to care for my loved ones, whatever their stage of life. I’m thankful for a husband who values my contribution to our family. Hands down, this is the best, most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for all the paychecks in the world.
What has been your most rewarding job either inside or outside your home? What made it so special? Tell us about it in the comments.